Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 30, 2024 ·  5 min read

‘Yes, Our Son Was 18 When We Adopted Him — But Every Child Deserves a ‘Forever’ Family’

Casey Douglas never wanted to bear children, which shocked her Christian community. Little did she know that she would become the parent of a child who truly needed her. Although Randall wasn’t a child. He was 18 when they adopted him. 

Adopting a Teenager 

When they married, Casey and Peter decided to volunteer as youth pastors at their church. They worked with children from poor neighborhoods and less-than-stellar parental figures. 

“After three years of marriage, we decided that Sundays and Wednesdays weren’t enough,” she writes on Love What Matters. “We had to be all in.” They were 24 and 26 when they began the process to foster and adopt children. [1] 

People reacted with negativity and arguments, saying things like “You need to have your ‘own’ children first,” “I would never adopt a child I didn’t raise, they have so much baggage,” or give unsolicited advice on infertility. But the Douglas’s didn’t want to adopt as a ‘plan B’. They wanted to be the forever family to a child who needed it. 

The negative responses grew when they only took children above the age of 13. “Are you sure you don’t want younger kids? Teens will kill you in your sleep.”  

“The best you will ever get is that a kid sees you as a mentor and then leaves the second he turns 18.” 

As well as, “You’re a waste of a good uterus.”  

This didn’t deter Casey during the nine grueling months to receive their fostering and adoption license. “So many nights I went and sat in the rooms that would hold my children and I sobbed and prayed for their precious lives. I prayed they could somehow feel the love I had for them, even before we met.” 

Bringing Their Son Home 

Finally, the big day came. The case worker showed up and greeted them with a warm, “So you are the people that want teenagers… Are you crazy?” 

The caseworker had just received a phone call for a 16-year-old boy who needed a home that night. Immediately, Casey told her to “bring him home”. Her husband was surprised and asked if they should pray before making the decision. Casey had already made up her mind, so he took a few seconds before looking up and saying, “She’s right; bring him home.”  

Three hours later, their son arrived. It was love at first sight for Casey. “Nothing could have ever prepared me for the pain of a desperate child showing up on my doorstep. In that second I knew he was mine.” 

Randall arrived with a little fishing pole and two bags of old clothes. His birth mother had abandoned him at the hospital with no name. He waited at the hospital for a week until his grandmother came to get him. She raised him until she suffered a stroke. Then he endured five years of abuse and neglect in multiple households. As a result, Randall had explosive anger tendencies, which shortened the list of the people willing to take him in. [2] 

He was homeless when he called CPS. His plan was to emancipate and work at Walmart to buy ramen and pot. “He had been rejected by everyone he had ever met and didn’t believe we would be any different.” 

Things were different with the Douglas’s. Randall’s change to the better was marked by the day he cried to his parents and told them: “I have waited my entire life to be treated the way y’all treat me. I have never had real parents before.” 

It was an emotional struggle, with Randall sometimes begging for the Douglas’s to keep him and other times pushing them away. But he was their son. They just wanted to make it official. [3] 

Read: Reasons to Love Adoption and Adoptive Parents

Randall was 18 When They Adopted Him 

After two years of waiting, Randall was 18 when they adopted him. They became an official family. 

“I have a name now, instead of ‘infant,’ and I have parents on my birth certificate,” Randall said in a video he made to celebrate that event.  

“From this moment forward, from today till the end of time, I will be your father and you will be my son,” Peter Douglas said to his son in the video. “This means that your needs, now and forever, come before mine. It also means I get to tell you what to do, whether you like it or not.” 

Casey posted about the adoption on Facebook and her post went viral. 

The big day finally came for our oldest son. It could not have been more perfect or more special. My husband and I met…

Posted by Casey Douglas on Saturday, January 12, 2019

Now, Randall is working on his education, and he dreams of becoming a baseball player, coach, or inland fisheries scientist. Once upon a time, these goals were impossible to him. “I never dreamed of things like going to college or having a family,” he says, “but now I have support and I am living a life I never even thought I could have.” 

“Parenthood came to us in a really unconventional way, but it has been more than I could have ever hoped for,” writes Casey. “In two years, Randall has come so far and continues to grow every day. The boy whose dream was to smoke pot and get by on his own is now a new person.” 

The Douglas’ continue to foster and adopt teenagers. They have no set goal for how many kids they want. “It’s about more kids needing our family,” says Casey. After all, they never planned to have any. 

Keep Reading: No, Our Family Doesn’t ‘Match’ But Thanks to Adoption, It’s Filled With Love


  1. Casey Douglas. “‘I’ve never had real parents before. I’ve waited my entire life to be treated the way y’all treat me.’: Couple adopts 18-year-old who was ‘abandoned by his birth mother with no name’.” Love What Matters.  
  2. S. M. Chavey. “’I have a name now…I have parents,’ teen says in viral Texas adoption story.” My Sanationo. January 23, 2019 
  3. Beverly L. Jenkins. ““I’ve Never Had Real Parents.” Abandoned Teen Breaks Down Getting Adopted As Adult.” Inspire More. May 18, 2019